Content: Language and Writing

Grade Level: 8

Theme: E-pals Around the World

Common Core/Literacy Standards:

  • Students should develop and strengthen their writing by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach
  • Students should focus on the purpose and audience when writing
  • Students should write routinely over different amounts of set time
  • Students should exhibit proper grammar
  • Students should recognize and correct their mistakes when it comes to verb voice and mood
NC.CC.8.W.   Writing Standards
    Production and Distribution of Writing
8.W.5.   With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
8.W.10.   Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
NC.CC.8.L.   Language Standards
    Conventions of Standard English
8.L.1.   Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
8.L.1.d.   Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood.


  • I would integrate the following Common Core Standards:
    • W.4 to work with my students on producing clear writing that flows well and is focused on the main point.
    • W.6 to implement technology and the internet into the students’ writing.
    • L.2.a-d to help students work on their spelling, grammar, and use of proper punctuation.

Alternate Text Resources: The alternate text is a friendly letter distributed by the teacher and a simple email projected on the board. These serve as examples of what the students should be writing to their e-pals. Students will also be reading emails and letters that their peers practice writing.

Lesson Phases:

  • 10 Phases
  • Phase 1: Preparation by the teacher with signing up for the e-pals on the e-pals Global Community Website

Phases 2-7: Letter Writing

  • Phase 2: Students view a sample friendly letter, identify the parts of the letter, and brainstorm ideas about what they want to talk about in their letter
  • Phase 3: Students write a rough draft of their letter independently
  • Phase 4: Students get with a partner and think, pair, share with proof reading, editing, and revising their partners’ letter
  • Phase 5: Students use the letter generator to write the final draft of their letter
  • Phase 6: Teach the students how to address an envelope
  • Phase 7: Students address an envelope independently and prepare their letter to be sent

Phases 8-10: Email Writing

  • Phase 8: Show students a sample email; teach them about the different parts of an email (BCC, CC, subject, recipient); explain spellcheck and talk about grammar
  • Phase 9: Students type a rough draft of their email to a partner independently and send it to a common email address; students think, pair, share their email with their partner where they will peer edit for spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Phase 10: Students type their final draft of their email, submit it to the teacher for review, and then send it to their e-pal

Instructional Literacy Strategies: Think, Pair, Share to practice writing letters and emails.

Student Engagement:

  • Peer editing with think pair share
  • Brainstorming about what to mention in a letter
  • Practice with typing and sending an email

Thinking Skills:

  • Think about what they want to write about in their letter.
  • Think about their peer’s work and how to respond to it.
  • Think about what to write about in an email.
  • Think about different parts of a letter
  • Think about how to write an email, the subject, and the concept of BCC and CC

What I like:

  • I love the idea of having students write letters to e-pals.
  • This lesson prepares students for future work writing letters and papers on a computer, on their conversational skills, and on their English skills when it comes to communicating.
  • I like that students are involved in the preparation for writing process as they brainstorm different things to write about.
  • I like the sample letters that students are given. This allows them to see an example. Some students in special education learn better by seeing an example than by learning from a lesson with a teacher talking.
  • I like the idea of peer editing. Students always learn so much from one another!
  • I like how students are learning life skills like addressing an envelope, formulating an email, using spellcheck. This is such an integral part of special education.
  • I LOVE the letter generator and the fact that it helps students learn how to write a letter by providing guidance in a technology-oriented fashion.
  • Students learn how to make new friends online (in a safe way) and correspond with someone via email.


  • I may need to let a student use an Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) device when preparing the letter, typing the email, or participating in think pair share.
  • I may have to scaffold and provide support and assistance to some students as they formulate their letters and emails.


  • Projector is used to show an example of an email.
  • Letter generator to help the students write a letter.
  • Students need technology to write a practice email.
  • Students need technology to find an e-pal using the website and to write emails to their e-pal.



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